On March 16, 2010, the 2,000+ acre Durst/Carvel development project was presented to a joint meeting of the Pine Plains Town Board and Planning Board and received many comments and suggestions for their pre-application submission.
Almost two years to the day of that meeting, the project sponsors came before the same boards and a crowd of more than 70 local residents at the Pine Plains library on March 14 and presented their updated plan.
During the hour-long presentation, Alexander Durst, co-vicepresident of The Durst Organization, explained the many changes to the old plan. The development will primarily target weekenders from New York City and elsewhere seeking to build second homes in the Hudson Valley.
According to Durst, the changes include:
- Fewer homes planned: 645, with 591 in Pine Plains and 54 in Milan
- Open space increased, from 55% to 72%
- Additional land acquired, increasing overall acreage by 5%
- Fewer entry points onto Rt. 199, reduced from 24 to 10
- Less development immediately adjacent to and visible from Rt. 199
As a selling point for the project, Durst pointed out that the roads, water and sewer will all be privately held and maintained with no cost to the taxpayers outside the development. And with the properties marketed to second-home owners, he suggested, there would be fewer children living in the development, which would have a positive impact on tax revenue for both the school and the town budgets. Any students in the development would attend Pine Plains schools.
Durst also repeatedly emphasized the $100 million investment and the jobs that would be generated by the project.
It is widely accepted by experts that more homes and more roads mean higher school and local property tax burdens for existing residents compared with open space or farmland. However, if these homes were purchased as second homes with private roads, sewer and water, that could change the equation.
The Pine Plains Planning Board is facing a brand-new process under the New Neighborhood Development (NND) zoning.
“We’re anxious to get a number of internal issues straightened out so we actually know how to proceed,” said Planning Board Chair Don Bartles. “The NND is a totally new idea, untried, and we need help from our consultants in order to sort things out.”
While Milan officials were not involved in the meeting, two members of the Milan town board were in the audience: Councilmen Jack Campisi and Jack Grumet.
“I just think the overall plan is quite extensive in its scope, and the devil is in the details,” said Grumet. “The presentation was a good one and we’ll just have to see how it all plays out.”
The planning and approval process for a project of this size takes a very long time and Durst suggested that, even if everything goes as planned, ground breaking would not even begin for two more years.
There was no question-and-answer period at the meeting.
More information about the Durst/Carvel project is available on the developer’s web site at www.carvelpropertydevelopment.com.